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Microsoft is ready to start expanding its AdCenter engine to allow at least some publishers to include contextual advertising from Microsoft on their site. According to a letter detailing the program and published on TechCrunch, Microsoft is doing a pilot program that allows smaller publishers to use contextual advertising from Microsoft, putting it potentially in competition with Google's AdSense and Yahoo's publisher network.
In a statement provided to CNET News on Thursday, Microsoft confirmed the trial.
"Microsoft's self-serve advertising offering for publishers is still under development and is currently in a private pilot phase, being tested by select publishers who met the participation requirements," Microsoft said. "The private pilot phase began earlier this year."
I'm pretty sure everyone involved in Yahoo Publisher and Google AdSense will be keeping an eye on this project.
Microsoft's comment included a note about no specific launch plans just yet.
In other words, if a page is about "red widgets," there's a good chance that Google will have ads specifically targeted to people who are interested in red widgets. What's more, they'll be able to serve geotargeted "red widgets" ads internationally, not just in the U.S.. What other contextual ad networks have this kind of depth and reach?
it's 2008 and we're still waiting for a decent adsense alternative.